Thursday, April 29, 2004

All Music Guide: Van Lear Rose

All Music Guide: Van Lear Rose

This is the latest CD by country legend Loretta Lynn and I've heard nothing but fantastic things about it. It's produced by White Stripes guitarist/singer Jack White and when I heard about the pairing of aging country legend with upstart young rocker I just had to laugh. So I queued it up on Rhapsody and wow, it's good stuff! Not exactly the stuff you tap your toes to, but I just might have to go out and buy the CD. It reminds me a lot of Dolly Parton's return to her roots with her bluegrass albums although it has a much different sound than that--it's earthier and grittier, more like Bonnie Raitt-ish type. And there's no beating Dolly's glorious soprano either so there's that.

It's been a good week for CD releases. Diana Krall's The Girl In The Other Room has been getting decent reviews and it is excellent. It sure beats The Look Of Love and it's so good to hear her playing piano again--thank goodness the orchestra is gone. It's invigorating to not hear her singing old standards this time around (at least not as many standards as are usually on her albums.) I also picked up a copy of Mary Chapin Carpenter's Between Here & Gone which is not Come On Come On or State Of The Heart, but is definitely her strongest recording in years.

Monday, April 26, 2004

I don't have much time to blog this morning. It seems that no matter when I get up I don't have time to do anything other than get ready. I would love to get on a walking regimen but I can't figure out how to work that into an already busy day. And you can forget about having time at the computer. I don't know how things got so crazy for me. It's not like my schedule deviates all that much from what I had at Washington. I just have so much trouble getting up in the morning.

I know a lot of how I'm feeling this morning is just Monday morning "oh-crap-the-weekend's-over" stuff. But it sucks because since I moved I don't really have anyone to talk to about it. Not like I did in Washington, so I don't know why I'm bitching.

Friday, April 23, 2004

What is my major malfunction?

What am I doing listening to Nick Lachey on Rhapsody this morning? Have I finally lost all my sanity and sense of self-respect? The music's not bad apart from being the syrupy slow boy-bandish ballad type song, but it caused me to look up his solo album on Rhapsody which has some more up tempo songs.

Settling into the new job and the new house. Ryan and Olenka are coming to Ames tonight along with my mom and dad. We'll all be going out to Hickory Park tonight where I'm sure Anna will eat nothing because whenever we take her to a restaurant lately, she doesn't want to eat but would rather run around. It's easy to get frustrated with her, but she's just a kid and a pretty good one at that.

Brian pointed out how the city of Ames sure trotted out the welcome wagon on our first "real" weekend in Ames. Truthfully, we didn't even notice anything and I wasn't even 100% positive that there had even been a riot until I got to work on Monday morning and people were talking about it. I sure hope that it doesn't spell the end of Veishea because it really is a good celebration for the university and does draw a lot of business to the city. Veishea has survived riots in the past, so I imagine it'll go on, but I completely expect them to take the celebration off of Welch Avenue and put it out by the Iowa State Center or contain it all on the campus.

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

More on Taxi Driver

TAXI DRIVER: 20th Anniversary Edition

Now I don't usually agree with much of what Roger Ebert says any longer (although he still writes really good movie reviews) but there's something in this review that made me sit up and take notice.

This utter aloneness is at the center of "Taxi Driver," one of the best and most powerful of all films, and perhaps it is why so many people connect with it even though Travis Bickle would seem to be the most alienating of movie heroes. We have all felt as alone as Travis. Most of us are better at dealing with it.

Yeah, I'm better at dealing with feeling alone than Travis but I still wish I didn't feel alone. Being at home is easy. It's going out in the world that's hard.

And on that note, it's time to venture out into the world.

Monday, April 19, 2004

Top 100 Movie Characters

Ran across this while surfing tonight:

The 100 Greatest Movie Characters of All Time

Reading through the list got me to thinking about Travis Bickle and Taxi Driver. Now that's a movie that I haven't seen in a long time--I should dig out that DVD and watch it sometime soon. Taxi Driver is a great movie because, like Saturday Night Fever, it captures a sliver of time for all eternity on film. And De Niro is just so dang good as Travis.

Funny, I never knew that it had this association.
I'm not really used to my new schedule yet, and it's not even all that different from my old one. Who knew what a difference an hour would make in the morning? Instead of going in at 9, I'm going in at 8 (for now) but it just seems like I don't have any time for anything. But I vowed that I was going to take a walk this morning (which I did) and that I was going to blog for a little bit this morning (which I am) so I guess I'm not doing too terribly bad.

We survived the last of the move and now it's just down to getting things unpacked. It still feels weird to say that Ames is our new home. I still feel like I'm living someone else's life, but the alternative is to go back to my old life which is just not what I want to be doing right now anyway. I know that my depression has been flaring a little these days--I've been tweaking my meds a little bit here and there and it's just not as smooth of sailing as it has been. I'm not stupid and I'm not naive enough to think that all this change wouldn't cause some mood instability so it's not like I'm unprepared for it.

Still, it's a bit of a let down. Here we are moving into the best time of the year for me depression-wise and I'm having troubles. It's times like these that I understand the allure of being depressed--it's a ready made excuse for everything that goes wrong in your life. You're not doing well at your job--blame depression. You can't get along with your friends--blame depression. But that's too pat of an answer, really, it is. It is somehow oddly comforting to do that though, and that's what you have to constantly be on guard against. You always have to understand that it's your choice whether you are wallowing in the depression or not. There's a point before you sink down into it that you can consciously free yourself from it, but that window is small and you have take it when you see it.

On another note, I've been reading Cold Mountain which has great potential but for some reason I just can't really get into it. I've been reading it for a few weeks now and I haven't managed to crack page 100 yet. The style of writing is very descriptive and there's precious little dialogue (other than internal dialogue) so that makes it a pretty slow read. I'm *this* far away from setting it aside in favor of something a little more upbeat, but so far I haven't managed to unpack enough books to have something to choose from. Tonight Anna and I are going to go to the Ames Public Library and check it out. I can't remember the last time I was there!

Mostly, I'm just missing the familiarity of my life. The comfort of going to a job each day that I know how to do even if I was bored senseless. I also miss Washington in a very abstract way--I miss the people that I did know. I'm idealizing what life was like there now that I'm away from it. I miss my friends a lot. I miss the Real Men list even though I'm still subscribed I don't have the time to read it. I found myself thinking about Kevin last night and wondering how he's doing. Dang, I miss that guy a lot.

Well, life will continue, and it'll be a good day today. I'll know more about how to do my job at 4:30 tonight than I do now, and that's how things are supposed to be. I better go start getting ready.

Friday, April 16, 2004

Moving

Haven't been blogging like I did last month, but I didn't expect to since we're so crazy with moving and what not. We're back in Washington for a day to get the rest of our stuff, and then there won't be anything here but the house that we're really looking to get rid of as soon as possible. I haven't the slightest idea how I'm going to move anything as my back is in knots and looking over my right shoulder to check out the right lane on the interstate last night nearly killed me every time I did it. We'll see.

Thursday, April 08, 2004

John Ashcroft--as you've never seen him before

This is courtesy one of my favorite blogs--Ack Ack Ack--which links to all sorts of cool stuff around the web each weekday. Today there's a photo mosaic of John Ashcroft made completely out of porn. It cracked me up.

Tuesday, April 06, 2004

58 year-old women rapping

I picked up the new Blondie CD today The Curse of Blondie. It's been out in Europe and Australia since last fall, but I've resisted the urge to pick up an import copy because I was just sure that it'd get a stateside release eventually. I have to say that there aren't too many 58 year-old women that can rap like Deborah Harry. She sounds just like she did way back when she first rapped in "Rapture." The CD itself, on first listen, is a lot like all the other Blondie CDs and (especially) like Debbie's solo stuff in that it's a really slow burn. The song "Good Boys" jumps off the CD at you and you can hardly ignore it because it's like classic Blondie and the rest of them (so far) don't have hooks anything like that, but that's almost good. It's those CDs that hook you immediately that you end up not liking much or burning out of really quick.

Another really good song is "Hello Joe" which just reminds me (in name only) of the Cher song "Hey Joe." Hey Joe! I hear you shot your woman down.

Monday, April 05, 2004

First day down and now the real work begins. I keep telling myself that I won’t be this tired every night after work, but it’s hard to remember that now. I think a lot of it has to do with having to readjust my body’s internal clock—that added with daylight saving time probably is most of the problem. All in all, it was a good day even though I don’t know if I’ll get paid for a full day today or not. I’ll manage, no matter how it works out.

So tonight Jeff’s making lasagna (read: he’s throwing a frozen one in the oven—he doesn’t have Heidi’s culinary abilities) and I’m sure we’ll try to find some cheap airfares to Washington D.C. Yes, that’s right—we’re going to Madonna’s Re-Invention Tour on June 14th at the MCI Center in Washington D.C.!! We’re not on the floor, but we’re on the main concourse (right above the floor) so the seats rock. I can hardly believe that we’re going, let alone that we’re flying all the way to D.C. to go to a concert! It turned out to be a good thing too, because the fourth show in Chicago sold out again. In a way, it’s almost better because now I don’t have to worry about driving to Chicago and in Chicago and trying to get a cab back from the United Center. The D.C. Metro goes right underneath the MCI Center and I remember from riding it back when Heidi and I were there in 2000 that it was the easiest way to get around D.C. So that’s way cool. Jeff’s buying the airfare as a birthday present to me. I’m springing for my ticket and taking care of the hotel room. We were looking at tour spoilers last night trying to get an idea of what the set list might look like—so far we’ve seen “Borderline”, “Deeper & Deeper”, “Justify My Love” and “Bedtime Story” mentioned. This tour is gonna rock!

The people at work are nice and they all seem to be happy to see me. The director is a really nice guy and really laid back so I guess I’m lucky that way too. I am so eager for the whole moving thing to be over and to have my girls living in the same house as me again. I talked to Heidi at lunch and she said that Anna’s doing pretty well although she always thinks that every time a car pulls up in the driveway that it’s “Daddy!” She was telling me that she and Anna are talking a lot about the new house and that everybody’s going to the new house. We’re not going to pack up the vast majority of Anna’s stuff till the last minute. And in addition to all the moving paranoia that Anna seems to be having, we’ve also got a really irrational bugphobia going on too—even when there aren’t any bugs to be seen. I miss her so much—bugphobia and all.

So all in all a good day. I’ll be glad when I only have to drive home in Ames and not drive to Ankeny. The commute was fun in the morning, but not so much at night when all I wanted to do was get home. And now Lita Ford’s “Back To The Cave” is playing in Winamp. What more can you ask for?

Friday, April 02, 2004

This is it!

Today's my last day of work. It's the last day I'll ever come home from this job. They've hired someone to replace me so there's no chance of going back even if I wanted to. They had a party for me yesterday which was really great--I've realized that I've been a little bit harsh on the people at work and all their melodramatic (at least by my estimations) reactions toward my departure. I've realized that this degree of sadness is how some people deal with change. To a lot of these folks, I may as well be dead because they're starting to reconcile the fact that their lives are not going to be shared with mine any more. So it kind of it like a death.

It's a gorgeous day though--sunny but cool and everything's so green. So that feels good. I hope that this kind of weather holds through the move. It would really suck to have either rain or gross amounts of humidity while moving.

Last night, Anna wanted to know why we took down the pictures on the dresser in our room. It was kind of sad--she truly doesn't quite get the move. She knows that something's changing, but isn't sure what. Heidi and I are convinced that Anna thinks she's not going to get to come along. Consequently, we talk a lot about the "new house" and how everybody's going to the new house in a little bit. I was telling Heidi that Anna's right on the edge of getting it--any older and it would be really hard to explain it to her, but any younger and she wouldn't get it at all. I'm not sure if that means the age she's at is a good one to be moving or not, but it's all happening anyway.

Thursday, April 01, 2004

Countdown

Two more days of work, and Heidi had a really astute observation last night. We have Howard Dean to thank for moving and all the changes in our lives these days. If he hadn't lost the Iowa caucuses, we probably wouldn't be moving right now. Truthfully, his loss in the caucuses and our caucus experience in general was the catalyst that drove us to look at other jobs and other towns.

This morning I'm listening to Kylie Minogue--I love her no-nonsense attitude to success (or rather, the lack thereof) in the United States. She basically doesn't seem to give a crap whether or not her music flies in the US. And that's refreshing. Thank God she's not doing some God-awful hip hop crap and is staying true to what she loves to do. That kind of committment to music is a rare thing in music these days.

And all that from a lightweight disco-dance singer.